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Eating - strange food

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163659.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:58 am Reply with quote

Well spotted. The question still works, I think, but now at least we'll get the answer right.

164042.  Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:41 pm Reply with quote

I discovered today that one of the ways Amundsen beat Scott to the South Pole was by the exceedingly unsportsmanlike tactic of eating his huskies - though another explorer (Mawson) on a different expedition died as a result of vitamin A poisoning contracted by eating husky dog livers.

164115.  Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:57 am Reply with quote

one of the ways Amundsen beat Scott to the South Pole was by the exceedingly unsportsmanlike tactic of eating his huskie

This is a slightly unfair slight on Amundsen, considering that Scott ate his ponies - surely equally unsportsmanlike.


though another explorer (Mawson) on a different expedition died as a result of vitamin A poisoning contracted by eating husky dog livers.

Mawson died in his 70s according to wiki, I think you may be thinking of his companion, Xavier Mertz, whose death on the return leg of the journey was ascribed to Vitamin A poisoning by Cleland and Southcott.

164117.  Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:03 am Reply with quote

According to wiki again, Mertz was the first person ever whose death was ascribed to Vitamin A poisoning, which would be interesting if true.

164158.  Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:49 am Reply with quote

Whoops sorry - you're right, eggshaped.

Personally I think it's far more unsportsmanlike to eat dogs than ponies. Even the French don't eat dogs.

164159.  Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:06 am Reply with quote

Yes - "French dog recipes" gives 1,340,000 Google hits, but the ones at the top seem to be recipes for dogs rather than of them. But we did cover Prince Henrik of Denmark, who was born French and has gone public on his dog-eating proclivities:

164169.  Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:33 am Reply with quote

Surely eating sheep is far more unsporting than either? At least dogs and horses can defend themselves ...

164556.  Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:16 pm Reply with quote


164598.  Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:07 pm Reply with quote

Doesn't sound like a myth to me - it sounds like carrots turn you orange.

I think the issue over Polar Bear livers and vitamin A is that the vitamin accumulates in the liver and the bears are at the top of a food chain which involves eating the livers of things that eat the livers of, ultmately, fish, isn't it?

164722.  Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:37 am Reply with quote

My father had quite a few mothers come into his surgery complaining about their orange babies. They all said "Ooh, all he will eat is carrots, doctor". In an amusing python pepperpot voice, of course. It's definitely true.

164788.  Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:00 am Reply with quote

I’m amazed to discover that we never covered this under Carrots in series C (mind you, I never seem to have much luck with the “search” facility, so perhaps we did.) Anyway, it was the “Mythchaser” on my first ever FT column. If it can now be rebunked, so much the better!

The usual version of the story is that “a man” turned orange and then died after drinking vast quantities of carrot juice, for health or slimming reasons, or (in some versions) because he became addicted to it. The dead man comes from various countries, but I've never before seen a name or date given to him, which sounds very hopeful.

Some notes:

According to her daughter, in 1939 Marlene Dietrich put her family on an all-carrot regime. After two weeks, “We turned yellow.” Dietrich’s lover, the writer Erich Maria Remarque, “said we looked Chinese and at that point we stopped.”
- Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2005.

“Parents were put on alert last night after the popular fruit drink Sunny Delight turned a child yellow.” The girl is unnamed, but the paediatrician who treated her in Wales is identified and directly quoted; he blames beta carotene in the drink - and the fact that she drank 1.5 litres a day. The beta carotene comes from “plants like dandelions and carrots.” The doctor suggests it’s more normal for children to turn “a faint yellowy colour” from overindulgence. The manufacturers themselves confirm that changes in skin colour can occur from excessive intake, but stress that “The condition is harmless and there is no toxic risk. After a few weeks the skin will revert to normal.”
- The Mirror, 27 Dec 1999; Independent 27 Dec 99 (which latter has the girl turning a “yellowy colour” rather than yellow, and only on her hands and face. Why would that be?)

Hmm: perhaps the myth is that turning orange kills you - but the turning orange (or yellow, more likely) is real.

An FT correspondent told me that he had kept, but couldn't now locate, a British press cutting from 1974-6 in which a 54-year-old vegetarian woman drank so much carrot juice that she turned orange, “due to a medical condition called carotenaemia. This state can also result from thyroid under-activity.” He says the patient recovered.

Another FT reader wrote of reports of “a couple who couldn't cook anything but tomato soup and over a period of weeks” on this diet turned orange. They were advised (by who, we don’t know) to “drink plenty of chicken soup to return their skin to its normal tone.”

Another FT letter writer: “During the 50s the SAS did some survival experiments which involved placing operatives in foreign countries undertaking covert operations and living on the local flora and fauna. One which I believe is well documented is the case of a soldier being sent to Cyprus to see if he could survive on a diet of oranges. After a relatively short period of around ten days he was taken off the assignment as he had become very weak, disorientated and his skin showed a pronounced orange colour.”

And this is about the US Senate candidate who turned blue:

Molly Cule
165643.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:03 am Reply with quote

Why should vegetarians steer clear of cultured pearls?

How to make a cultured pearl – relax a two year old oyster by putting them in a warm bath. When the shells open stick in a thin sharp instrument (designed for the purpose by dentists) and use it to cut the oyster’s balls open. Insert a polished bead made of shell and a 2mm square of the frilly mantle of another oyster. Leave the oyster for about 3 months to recover from the trauma. If it doesn’t die then it will start making a pearl.

This process was created by a Japanese man called Mikimoto. He said “I want to live long enough to see the day when we have so many pearls we can sell necklaces for 2 dollars to every woman who can afford one and give them away free to every woman who can’t.”

169407.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:39 am Reply with quote

JTSOR says this:

In fact, sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreas used for food, though the etymology of the term is also connected with the scrotum or testicles

but i can't tell what it's talking about as I can't see it in context. Anyone?

169409.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:41 am Reply with quote



The sweet element is thought to come from English sweet as the thymus and pancreas are sweet and rich. The bread element, on the other hand, is now thought to come from Old English bræd "flesh", so that sweetbreads are simply "sweet flesh", versus the more savory muscle flesh that is usually consumed because it is more plentiful. The term dates from the mid-16th century.

169414.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:47 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
JTSOR says this ... but i can't tell what it's talking about as I can't see it in context. Anyone?

I'm back at work tomorrow, so I'll have a look at it then.


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